I was really busy in July so the reading was a little slow this month (also I wasted a lot of time on Revelation Space).
New Books Read
Namesake by Adrienne Young
Book Hangover Alert**
Fable book 2 of 2
I really enjoyed this series. I mean how can you go wrong with pirates? I liked all the twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I did miss Wes and the crew a little bit because they don’t seem to get as big a role in this one as the first one, but I still really liked it. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give any spoilers for those who haven’t read the first one.
4/5 deals struck
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
This might be Bryson’s best book. I always enjoy Bryson’s humor and the way he weaves in history and science. I liked how Bryson captured the way hiking can be really not fun but still somehow enthralls you and keeps you coming back for more (we’ve always called that Type 2 fun). As an experienced hiker, it was very amusing to hear of Bryson’s and Katz’s experiences on the trail as fairly inexperienced hikers, especially because of the self-deprecating way Bryson tells the story.
4/5 thrown out supplies
The Man on the Mountain Top by Susan Trott, adapted by Libby Spurrier
I don’t know that this really counts as a book but this is my blog so I can do what I want. It’s an audible original that adapts two books by Susan Trott (The Holy Man and The Holy Man’s Journey) into an audio play. I enjoyed it. It was reflective and thoughtful and sweet. I liked the performances of all the actors.
3/5 treks up the mountain
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida***
This is a great read for anyone who wants to understand a little more about the autistic experience. So often people assume that nonverbal autistics are stupid or don’t understand what others say to them, but this book, written by a nonverbal autistic 13 year old gives us a window into what it’s like inside his head. Of course experiences of anything, including autism, aren’t universal, but I think reading this book can definitely help people understand that brains can work in different ways and people can communicate in all sorts of ways and that’s okay.
3/5 happy flaps
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart ***
Drowning Empire book 1 of 3
This book was so good. So unlike anything I’ve read before. The world building was exquisite; I loved the Asian-inspired fantasy. I also liked the characterization of each of the main characters. I liked the tension created by each of their different goals and motivations, which set them at odds with each other. At the same time though, they were all compelling and I was rooting for all of them, even though they weren’t always working together. There were lots of twists and turns I didn’t see coming or only saw just before they happened, which was very satisfying. I also adored Mephi. I liked this book so much I immediately started reading the sequel.
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
CW: murder, rape, gore
I loved this. Saint did such a great job with each of her three main characters, Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra. Each woman was unique and nuanced and had a voice and perspective entirely her own. I feel like so often we see female characters who are pretty much indistinguishable from each other. I love the Trojan war and I’ve read several retellings before; I loved the fresh perspective this book brought. I liked Saint’s last novel, Ariadne, but I loved this one.
5/5 lion daggers
Books I didn’t finish
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
The last time I didn’t finish reading a book was July of 2020 (Tender Morsels). It’s rare for me to not finish something. I suppose I might return to this one someday. It has that quality that some science fiction books have where the first few pages you have no idea what’s going on and they’re using all this jargon that’s unfamiliar (Dune is one of these). Usually I just keep reading in the good faith that it will start to make sense eventually, and usually it does. But I read almost 100 pages of this book and it was still not making sense. I also thought it was boring and had too many characters, and the way it jumped around in time was confusing. So anyway, let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought.
0/5 alien fossils
**Book Hangover Alert indicates the kind of book that will leave you full up on love. Satisfied, but wishing the book never had to end. You’ll be laying on the floor with no idea what to do with yourself (other friends have called this feeling Good Book Depression or say that certain books necessitate Floor Time). This is the kind of book that gets its teeth in you and won’t let go easily. After the last page you’ll be thinking about this book for a long time. You’ll bother all your friends trying to get them to read it so that you won’t be alone in your Hangover.
***This book is part of my Books for a Social Conscience series! Read The Reason I Jump to get a better understanding of the experience of nonverbal autistic people. Read The Bone Shard Daughter for an Asian-inspired fantasy.
Reads marked as part of the Books for a Social Conscience series will regularly address topics like race and racism, colonialism and post-colonialism, LGBTQ+ experience, feminism, BIPOC experience, social and political issues, history, identity, class, disability experience, immigration, gun violence, poverty, colorism, environmentalism, and more! The goal of these books is to diversify the stories we’re reading, grow our empathy for those who are different from us, and amplify voices who are often silenced.